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Ex-RUC reservist charged in child sex probe named

A former part-time RUC reservist charged in connection with what is believed to be one of the biggest ever domestic sexual abuse inquiries in Northern Ireland can now be named.

Thomas Fitzpatrick (50), from Crew Hill Gardens, Ardglass, has been on remand in prison since last month after he appeared in court charged with eight offences in connection with the major police probe into allegations of historical sexual abuse in Co Down.

Yesterday lawyers acting on behalf of the former policeman tried to block attempts to reveal his identity when he appeared at Downpatrick Magistrates Court via videolink.

His solicitor Gareth Dillon argued Fitzpatrick had been in a previous relationship with one of his co-accused and that there was some “familial” link.

But District Judge Mervyn Bates rejected the argument saying that he understood the relationship ended many years ago and that the familial link was very distant.

He said the reporting restrictions attached to the case were imposed to protect the identity of the complainants. Revealing the former officer’s name would not breach that order, he added.

Fitzpatrick stands accused of raping and indecently assaulting a young girl, indecently assaulting a young boy aged between six to 10 years, as well as engaging in gross indecency with a male under the age of 21.

The charges were said to have occurred between 1983 and 1986.

He is also accused of making threats to kill against the alleged male victim, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence and possession of 14 rounds of 9mm bullets. Fitzpatrick is one of four people — including the parents of five alleged victims — who have been charged with a catalogue of child sex offences in connection with the case being probed by the PSNI’s Public Protection Unit.

A total of 13 people have been arrested in relation to the inquiry and a further three more people have been questioned by police.

Last month the parents of five alleged victims appeared in court charged with 66 counts of child sex offences between them including rape, incest, gross indecency and cruelty.

The fourth person charged, Patrick Kilmartin (56), a baker from Bryansford Gardens, Newcastle, is accused of rape, indecent assault and gross indecency with a child who was eight years old at the time of the alleged offences.

Fitzpatrick will reappear in court next month.

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